History will be rewritten on June 4 when councillors are voted onto the first ever Wiltshire Council, but the run-up to the main event has been a subdued affair so far.

The election trail has been quieter than in previous years, according to former West Wiltshire district councillor Graham Payne, who believes the MPs expenses scandal has had a ripple effect at local level.

Mr Payne (Con), who has served on local authorities for 33 years continuous, is up against Lib Dem Marcus Francis for the Trowbridge Drynham seat.

He said: “I think it is one of the quietest I have known. It’s because the council is an unknown quantity. No one is sure how things will work out. There is a general dissatisfaction with politics and political parties at the moment. It’s all a bit sad.

“I feel as though a lot of parliamentary people have let local councillors down. We’re the ones at the grass roots of everything.”

All of Cllr Payne’s former West Wiltshire District Council cabinet, which was Tory led, are standing for the Wiltshire Council elections, including deputy leader and council veteran Tony Phillips, who has been in local politics for more than 50 years.

Mr Phillips, who is standing for the Tories in the Southwick ward, famously referred to a meeting where he was deposed as leader following a Lib Dem/Independent coup in 2005 as a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. He was appointed as deputy leader after his party retook power in the 2007 local elections. He is up against David Lovell (Lib Dem).

The move from five councils to one has led to a massive reduction in seats, meaning there has been some high profile leaders, none more so than Tory stalwart and Wiltshire County Council cabinet member Nancy Bryant, who failed to get the nod for her Calne ward so will stand as an independent.

In Trowbridge, former mayor, as well as district and county councillor Tom James, was not selected by the Lib Dem party to stand, despite being awarded an MBE for services to local government.

He will stand as an independent in Trowbridge Adcroft ward, against Lib Dem and former Trowbridge mayor Nick Blakemore and Tory David Halek.

In other wards covering west Wiltshire there are a number of key battles Widower James McGee, of Holbrook Vale, Melksham, is a candidate for Labour in Melksham South. Mr McGee and his former wife Mary won the support of Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Booth, a QC, in their fight to stop cuts being made to her care. Mrs McGee died in January 2007.

He is up against Melksham mayor Richard Wiltshire (Con) and Jon Hubbard (Lib Dem) In the Bradford on Avon North ward, two former West Wiltshire District Council cabinet members will go head-to-head - former environment portfolio holder Rosemary Brown (Lib Dem) and ex-housing portfolio holder Virginia Fortescue (Con).

Also fighting for the seat will be James Tracey (Lab) and former Tory councillor David Binding, who is now running as an independent.

Avon Vale Hunt master Jonathon Seed (Con) is running for the Summerham and Seend against Semington Parish Council leader Robert Oglesby and John Ryan (UKIP).

In Trowbridge Lambrok, former Trowbridge town clerk Doug Ross is standing for the Tory party against Lib Dem stalwart Helen Osborn, whose husband Jeff is also running for election.

It will be the battle of the town royalty in Westbury West with outgoing Warminster mayor Veronica Burden (Con) battling deputy Westbury mayor Christine Mitchell (Lab).

Alan Rigg (Lib Dem) and Russell Hawker (Ind) are also standing in this ward.

In four out of the five Warminster wards, the English Democrats party has fielded a candidate.